A new coat of paint is one of the best and most affordable ways to overhaul an office space. If you’re a commercial painter, getting a contract to paint the offices of a dentist or doctor, an entire medical practice or a hospital can be a profitable opportunity, but there are some health concerns to consider, including your choice of paint, whether or not the facility will be in use during your painting project, considerations of air quality and the health of patients who may be exposed to fumes. Here are some things to consider to protect the health of your clients and your clients’ patients.
Those that work in the construction industry, of which commercial painting is a subset for workers’ compensation statistics, are the fifth most likely to suffer on-the-job injuries. When your employees are hurt on the job, although your workers’ compensation insurance will cover their claims so you’re not out of pocket for their bills, frequent claims or one large claim can drive your insurance premiums through the roof and negatively impact your bottom line.
“This is bad news, Hal.” The contractor looked up from his plans and walked over. Luke was crouching, inspecting the rivets and bolts at the base of the complex valve system that delivered chemicals from transport trains into the factory. Luke continued, “There’s corrosion all over this system. Normally, that might not be a big deal, but it looks like someone else kept painting over the damage instead of fixing it. Look at this!” Luke ran a magnet over the painted surface. At some points, the magnet held tight to the coating, but at other points, the magnet fell to the floor. Even through the top level looked well-painted and clean, the substrate underneath was telling a different story.
Hal protested, “Come on, Luke. It looks fine from here.” Luke continued his objection: “The metal under the paint is in bad shape and it’s likely getting worse. Maybe it holds up ten more years…or maybe it starts falling apart next week. If you insist on doing the work without addressing the underlying problem, then I suggest you find another painter. I’m not doing it.”
Every business owner has stresses to deal with and commercial painting bosses are no exception. You are responsible for selling your services, ordering supplies, scheduling employees, paying them and, most importantly, keeping you and your employees safe on the job. This goes beyond making sure your equipment is sturdy and well-maintained and that your painters have the right tools to do their job safely. One of your most critical roles is to be aware of the health risks you may expose workers to and to protect them as much as possible. Today we’ll look at three major health concerns (beyond falls and accidents) that put commercial painters at risk.
Commercial clients often opt for exterior colors that reflect their logo, usually limited to a roster of colors approved by a property manager, or they stick with standard industrial hues. But your residential clients will present more of a challenge and may want your input on their exterior color choices. In fact, if you see a client making what could be an epic color mis-step and don’t offer some well-meaning advice, you’re doing them a disservice. Here are some of the exterior paint trends you can expect for 2014 so you can give your clients relevant tips.
If you’ve been hired to work on a vintage home, there are a number of concerns. Aging structures can have defects that make working with ladders and scaffolding dangerous. There can be asbestos in the construction, dry rot or weakened drywall. But when working in homes constructed pre-1978, one of the foremost concerns is the presence of lead paint. In homes built prior to 1960, the use was prevalent and the risk of exposure is even higher.
Paint sprayers have revolutionized how professional painters work. Sprayers are considered as much as ten times faster than using a brush. Think about that: a traditional paint job can be accomplished in a fraction of the time needed to use a brush on the same job. The downside, however, is that to achieve these results the painter must be using the right paint sprayer. Considering the number of parts and pieces working together in a paint sprayer setup, it can be very difficult for even the most seasoned and experienced paint professional to know what the right setup is for the work they are doing.
It should come as no surprise that paint sprayers come in a variety of different sizes and styles. It should also come as no surprise that different sprayers carry different costs, not just for upfront purchase, but also ongoing maintenance and use. The correct sprayer can pay for itself quickly, but have you ever stopped to research the sprayer you are using as a professional painter to confirm that it is indeed the best option for you? It is possible – even likely – that the paint sprayer you are using is not optimized for the work you do.
Frank turned the job down. Flat out didn’t want it. No bid, no thanks. His office manager wondered why and Frank was quick with a response: “More money doesn’t mean more money.” The office manager didn’t understand, so Frank explained, “Just because a job pays more money doesn’t meant it’s right for us. I’d run circles around myself planning for that job and it still wouldn’t be very profitable. Just too many details to manage and I’m not interested. I’d rather go with what I know.”
And that was the end of the conversation about why Frank’s paint company turned down a big paint job just outside of town. But his office manager still wondered why the company wouldn’t be interested in such a big project. What she didn’t know was that Frank had been through this before long ago and had since decided that planning for large paint jobs simply wasn’t his forte.
Depending on what type of businesses you typically work with, you may find that many of your commercial clients are more conservative when it comes to selecting paint colors, and they tend to stick with standard, neutral colors that are functional and restrained rather than bold. But there will be those that want to try something different, more creative and trendier. Clients in the retail space may be more open to a wider range of interesting colors, as will creative industries and some high-tech companies.
Clyde and his younger sister Ellie grew up in Taylor, Texas. The town had changed a lot in the last fifty years, but one constant was the ante-bellum mansion just off the main street in town. The lady that lived in the house since the early sixties had passed away and the house was put up for sale. The city discussed purchasing the house and making it a museum celebrating the county’s history but ultimately couldn’t find the money in their budget. The home sat vacant for months with a for sale sign in the yard.
One evening while Ellie was over for dinner, Clyde had a wild idea. “Let’s do it. Let’s buy the place and fix it up. Why not? It’s part of our history and the price is right. I’m sure it will be a lot of work, but can you imagine the pride we would feel, the pride the whole town would feel for the house to be restored?” Ellie didn’t take much convincing: “That’s a great idea.”
The next morning Clyde made a call to the bank, the county courthouse, and the realtor on the sign. Three weeks later, he and Ellie owned the place and they were ready to start the work of restoring the home to its previous condition. But restoring a historic home is far from an easy task…